We fell in love with the nuanced and varied cuisine of Mexico during the making of our August/September 2012 special Mexico issue. From deeply-spiced moles to grilled steak tacos and fruity tomatillo salsas, here are all the recipes from issue #149.
This zesty mix of fresh seafood, tomato and lime juices, and hot sauce is a refreshing snack or light meal eaten along Mexico’s coasts. Get the recipe »
A mix of dried shrimp, eggs, and tangy achiote makes an intensely savory topping for fried tortillas in this simple dish, eaten as an appetizer or snack in coastal Oaxaca. Get the recipe for Tostadas de Camaron Seco »
These thick tortillas, bathed in two types of salsa and garnished with shredded chicken, are a popular street snack in Mexico. See the recipe for Chalupas Poblanas »
Pan-Fried Crabs in Chipotle Sauce (Jaibas Enchipotladas)
Mexico’s soups are famous for their freshness and simplicity. This one marries delicate squash blossoms with chiles, queso fresco, and shredded chicken in an enriched chicken broth. Get the recipe for Squash Blossom Soup (Caldo Xochitl con Flor de Calabaza) »
The heat of this deep-red ancho chile soup and its pasilla chile garnish is balanced by the addition of cooling crema and thinly sliced avocado. Get the recipe »
Brightened with chiles and lime juice, this silky avocado soup gets an added dose of richness from heavy cream.
The thin vermicelli-like noodles called fideos add starch and body to this elemental tomato soup from Patricia Quintana, chef-owner of Izote restaurant in Mexico City.
This creamy, rich soup is a favorite in Mexico City. In summer it’s usually chilled like a vichyssoise, but it’s also served hot, especially in the cooler months.
This scramble of fresh ricotta, flavored with chiles, onions, and tomatoes, is delicious wrapped in warm tortillas or piled on toasted bread. Get the recipe »
Oaxacan Red Chile Enchiladas (Enchiladas de Chile Ajo)
Delicately spiced, tangy escabeche, a preparation typical of the Yucatan, makes a vibrant marinade and sauce for stewed chicken. The grapefruit, orange, and lime juices called for in this recipe approximate the flavor of the Yucatan’s sour oranges, which are difficult to get here.
Mexican Noodle Casserole (Sopa Seca)
This quick breakfast dish is made a la Mexicana with red tomatoes, white onion, and green jalapeño, ingredients that mirror the colors of the Mexican flag.
Grilled Steak Tacos (Tacos de Carne Asada)
Stained deep orange with achiote paste, this spice-slathered grilled chicken pairs well with fresh, bracing salsa verde, which cuts through the dish’s garlicky richness.
Hearty and filling, this easy chicken stew gets its signature smoky flavor from chipotles in adobo. Get the recipe for Chicken and Potato Stew (Guisada al Pollo) »
This classic Pueblan sauce is made with pumpkin seeds and tomatillos. Get the recipe for Chicken with Pumpkin Seed-Tomatillo Sauce »
This clean, flavorful preparation of whole fish stuffed with pico de gallo preserves all the fish’s natural juices. Mullet is typically used, but red snapper works just as well.
In Mexico’s most iconic molé, mulato, ancho, and pasilla chiles combine with warm spices to create a velvety smooth sauce that’s ideal for spooning over chicken.
Marinated in a crimson achiote and citrus juice marinade and served with pickled onions, this chicken dish is eaten all over the Yucatan. It gets an additional layer of flavor from the banana leaves that line the inside of the pot, but should you opt not to use them, the result will still be delicious.
This Yucatan-style breakfast dish, topped with peas, ham, and Gouda or Edam cheese, has a spicy habanero and tomato sauce.
The bolillo, a French-style crusty white bread roll from Mexico, is the traditional foundation of this comforting dish, but a kaiser or most any other sandwich roll will work well.
These salsa-dunked and griddled sandwiches, an iconic Mexico City street food, are named for the pambazos—soft, oval rolls—they’re typically made with. Telera and kaiser rolls make fine substitutes.
This stuffed, fried chile, a specialty of Julin Contreras of Restaurante Pueblo Mio in the town of Tehuantepec, in southeastern Oaxaca state, has a sumptuous ground beef filling dotted with olives and raisins. Get the recipe for Chiles Rellenos con Picadillo (Poblano Chiles Stuffed with Spiced Beef) »
This sweet-tart drink is a popular streetside cooler.
If you’d rather drink your breakfast, try atole—a traditional Mexican drink thickened with masa harina and served hot.
This spicy cantina favorite makes an excellent appetizer and thirst-quencher on a hot summer night. Get the recipe for Michelada con Camarones (Spicy Beer Cocktail with Shrimp) »
This thirst-quencher punches up pineapple and apple with cactus.
In this dish, from Jorge Boneta, former chef at the Hotel Matilda in San Miguel de Allende, the pork and beans cook together, which enhances the flavor of each ingredient.
Infused with smoky guajillo chiles, this nourishing, slow-cooked stew is usually made with various tough cuts of beef, but we found oxtails to be the most flavorful choice.
Traditionally made in Puebla to celebrate Mexican Independence Day on September 16, these chiles have a minced pork filling enhanced with chopped fruit, and a creamy walnut sauce.
Thick, oblong masa tortillas (named huarache, or sandal, because of their shape) are topped with grated cheese, salsa roja, sauteed steak, and sliced cactus in this classic street food.
This cheesy, creamy dish originated at a Sanborns cafe in Mexico City in 1950. Its name, “Swiss enchiladas,” alludes to its copious use of dairy. Get the recipe for Chicken Enchiladas in Tomatillo-Cream Sauce (Enchiladas Suizas) »
Smoky roasted poblano chiles add deep flavor to starchy potatoes in this side dish typical of central Mexico. Get the recipe for Sauteed Potatoes and Chiles »
Arroz a la Mexicana (Mexican-Style Red Rice)
This classic Mexican rice, embellished with tomatoes, serrano chiles, and peas, is a versatile side dish for all kinds of meat and vegetable mains. See the recipe for Arroz a la Mexicana »
This fruity tomatillo salsa layered with queso fresco and avocado slices can be served as a side dish or as an appetizer with warm tortillas.
These stewed pinto beans can be eaten with tortillas for a light meal, or as a side dish for many savory foods. Get the recipe for Frijioles de Olla »
These vinegary pickled chiles are an essential condiment for all kinds of street foods in Mexico.
This earthy toasted pumpkin seed salsa, a specialty of the Yucatan, is rich, thick, and satisfying. Serve it with tortilla chips for dipping. Get the recipe for Sikil P’ak »
Charred tomatoes give this vibrant red salsa a hint of sweetness and smoke. Get the recipe for Tomato and Chile Salsa (Salsa Roja) »
Tropical fruit adds sweetness and acidity to this fragrant, spicy salsa. The tart pineapple is a perfect foil for rich meats, stewed chicken, and roasted fish. Get the recipe for Fresh Pineapple Salsa (Salsa de Piña) »
This peanut-chile sauce, a take on a traditional salsa from Chiapas, Mexico, is delicious spooned on grilled chicken or shrimp. See the recipe for Salsa de Cacahuate y Chile de Árbol »
Bright and fruity, this salsa is the perfect counterpoint to the richness of cheesy dishes and grilled meats. Get the recipe for Green Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa Verde) »
In coastal Oaxaca, both fresh and dried shrimp appear in all kinds of preparations. Here, they bring texture and intense umami flavor to a classic pico de gallo. Get the recipe for Salsa con Camaron Seco »
This refreshing frozen treat, made from bottled or fresh mango juice, is a Mexican version of granita.
Sweet roasted poblano chiles add smokey depth to this soup made with spinach and enriched with cream.
Similar to tortilla soup, this version is sour from lots of whole limes in the broth and garnish; roasted habañero chiles add smokey heat to this bright soup. Get the recipe for Lime Soup (Sopa de Lima) »
This green salsa is made thick and luscious by adding fresh avocado. Serve tableside with almost any dish— it’s especially delicious with roasted pork dishes or tacos carne asada.
This simple salsa is little more than pureed tomatillos and pasilla chiles. Get the recipe for Chile and Tomatillo Salsa (Salsa de Chile Pasilla Oaxaqueño y Miltomate) »